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Three observations from Bayern Munich’s group-winning victory over Red Star

Robert Lewandowski remains in incredible form, as does Hansi Flick, whose incredible results continued away in Belgrade.


Robert Lewandowski is on another level

A fair few people (myself included) were disappointed when Lewandowski failed to score against Fortuna Düsseldorf this past Saturday, bringing his scoring record in the Bundesliga to a screeching halt. Little did everyone know he was saving all of his goals for today.

The prolific Pole missed two chances in the first half but made up for it in the second. He opened his account with a very well-struck penalty before making it two with the deftest of touches to poke home from close range. He finished his hat-trick a few minutes later with a glancing header that just disappeared into the far post, and rounded it off by coolly finishing a lovely through-ball from substitute Ivan Perisic.

What made Lewandowski’s performance so special was that each of his goals highlighted a different aspect of his arsenal of talents. His first was a highly accurate penalty that the keeper would probably have not saved even if he had guessed the right way. His second was the result of expert positioning, being in the right place at the right time, and dancing around the offside line. The third was pretty similar, but also let Lewandowski’s heading abilities shine as well. Finally, the fourth was just finishing at its best, plain and simple.

Lewandowski thus made it to the top of the Champions League goalscorer rankings with a whopping ten goals from five games and became only the fifth player in Champions League history to score in every one of the five opening games. What record will he break next? Only time will tell.

Bayern’s injury list thankfully(?) remains the same

Bayern Munich’s roster coming into this game was quite short of a few names, with Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez out with long-term injuries, and David Alaba missing as well for the birth of his child (Glückwunsch, David!). Add that to a potentially dangerous away trip to Serbia, and it was the perfect stage for the cursed injury gods to make an unwelcome reappearance.

However, the men from Munich did not sustain any more bumps or bruises and will board the plane back to Germany with no more names on the injury list. Red Star played a rather subdued game with no remotely harsh challenges, and Bayern took full advantage of that. Considering there are still six games to go until the winter break (Leverkusen, Gladbach, Spurs, Bremen, Freiburg, Wolfsburg), it is crucial that everyone stays healthy until the team can take a much needed-breather in the warm weather of Qatar.

Fingers, toes, arms, legs, and eyes crossed that the injury gods stay away from Die Roten for the foreseeable future, or even better, forever.

It’s still too early to call for Hansi Flick

Four games, four wins, sixteen goals scored, and none conceded. Fans of FC Bayern cannot ask for much more from interim manager Hansi Flick, who is looking more and more likely to see out the entire season before any changes are made in the summer.

That said, four games are not enough to judge any manager’s performance. Keep in mind that Bayern have not played any reputable teams during Flick’s tenure yet, other than a very understaffed and unmotivated Borussia Dortmund. With all due respect, Red Star are not a team that anyone would expect to challenge a team of Bayern’s caliber seriously. I am not saying that Flick’s achievements should be understated. But the fact remains that rash decisions in a transitional period like Bayern’s could be hit or miss. For instance, Manchester United were in a hurry to hire Ole Gunner Solskjaer as official manager after a couple of decent results. Look where they are now.

What Flick is doing with his team is working wonders at the moment, considering Bayern could not guarantee a comfortable victory against any team during Niko Kovac’s last days. However, Flick needs a longer run before being judged. Hopefully he can deliver more positive results, and if possible, more trophies.

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